Residencies: A path to church planting

By Send Network

The next generation of church planters and church planting teams are sitting in your congregation.

They’re likely teachers, construction workers, bankers or students, and the prospect of becoming a church planter or being a part of a church plant lies dormant in their minds. Their passion for missional living and church planting is waiting to be roused and kindled.

But how will they be equipped? As a pastor, tasks and people are vying for our already limited time.

We are better together

The thought is daunting: Creating a training program that prepares men and women in your church to plant a new church. Unless you’re able to add more hours to the day or more full-time staff, the prospect of becoming a Multiplying Church can seem like an elusive dream.

Do most pastors have the time, capacity or resources to develop the next generation of missional leaders? Though they may not always feel like they do, the Albuquerque Residency proves that as they prioritize gospel work, they don’t have to do it alone.

Chad Spriggs, Send Network’s church planting catalyst, recognized this problem and began talking to local pastors about the Multiplication Pipeline — a free leadership development resource that trains missional leaders in churches.

“I began casting vision to local churches in the Albuquerque Metro area about the Multiplication Pipeline, and what it had to offer. They were all very interested, but lacked time to devote to putting in the things that needed to be put in,” Spriggs explained.

As Spriggs’ relationship with these pastors grew, a familial bond developed. They noticed different strengths within each congregation, and they began to pray about how they could use one another’s gifts to further God’s kingdom.

“As I saw what the Lord was doing, I noticed we had developed a real synergy and brotherhood in the city, and I prayed about how we could capitalize on that brotherhood,” he said. “Rather than doing training programs as individual churches — because each church had its strengths and weaknesses — we started looking at seeing how we could partner to capitalize on all of the churches’ strengths.”

They talked about how they could help one another train leaders in their congregations. Every church and pastor had different skills they could offer one another’s interns. And as generous stewards of these gifts, they shared their talents with one another’s leaders to expand the advancement of the kingdom.

“We knew interns would be getting so much more if we worked together. We’ve got some guys who are great vision casters, and we’ve got others who are gurus with logistical implementation and disciple-making.”

Residency cohort

The Albuquerque Residency Program launched the end the January with five churches and 25 residents. In a world of competition — even among churches — it’s refreshing to see a spirit of collaboration and generosity.

“We get together as a big group, and then once or twice a month, residents get together with their cohort leaders to walk through the Multiplication Pipeline. We rotate among different pastors in the city and we have Zoom calls from guys across the country who can speak specifically about things like vision casting, discipleship, logistics, and how to contextually prepare your church plant or your ministry to meet the needs of a local community.”

Throughout the year, cohort leaders engage with the participants. From one-on-one discussions and training to updates and evaluations, their residency program offers a variety of learning styles to ensure higher retention, opportunities for processing, and hands-on training.

“In the large group context, we have breakouts, we divide them into their cohorts, and we have the large group teaching time. We try to connect with multiple levels of learners in that environment,” Spriggs explained. “Throughout the residency, each of them is evaluated within their ministry context. The other cohort leaders and I assess their implementation of the Multiplication Pipeline and their implementation of the overall residency’s objectives within their ministry context.”

As a leader, one of the hardest parts about developing — especially developing in teaching or preaching — is receiving honest and helpful feedback. Residents (both men and women serving in varying ministry contexts) preach or teach in the context they’ll serve and receive feedback from their cohort leaders.

“In the summer months, contextually speaking, if it’s a Sunday school teacher or a Children’s Director, each person is going to have an opportunity to share, teach, or preach — depending on the context. And then we’ll encourage and correct them and try to challenge them to grow and hone that skill.”

Do most pastors have the time, capacity or resources to develop the next generation of missional leaders? Perhaps not. But the Albuquerque Residency proves you don’t have to do it alone.

As churches, we are better together.

“It has been phenomenal seeing these pastors and leaders have a kingdom mindset, develop brotherhood, and spur one another on. They’ve developed a synergy that’s been released into their own church environments too.”

Interested in raising up missional leaders in your church? Go to

To hear more about residency programs, listen to the Starting Residencies episode of the We are Send Network podcast.

Published July 30, 2020

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Send Network

The North American Mission Board has established the Send Network to deliver resources and provide opportunities to help you and your church be equipped and mobilized in your local community and beyond.